It’s impossible to think about Jesus’ call to bear fruit without considering
Paul’s words in Galatians 5. It’s clear from this passage that everyone
bears fruit. Some of us bear fruit that brings pain and division, and that
makes the world a poorer, more hostile place. But, when we allow our
lives to be aligned to God’s values and directed by God’s Spirit, we
bear fruit that brings peace, justice, and compassion, and that makes the
world a kinder, more hospitable place. If we’re honest, we’ll have to
acknowledge that we all bear both kinds of fruit. In some parts of our
lives, we are more connected to Jesus than in others. Where we remain
in Jesus, we bear the fruit of the Spirit. Where we still insist on doing
things our way, and prioritizing our agendas, we bear rotten fruit.
What’s great about the fruit of the Spirit is that it requires no law. When
we follow God’s values and priorities, we don’t need to be given a list
of “dos” and “don’ts”. We automatically seek to be and do what brings
life, joy, peace, and justice into our world. Whenever we find ourselves
becoming obsessed with laws and rules, we can be sure that we’ve
strayed from the Spirit’s leading. But, when we find ourselves naturally
loving and caring for others, we know that God’s Spirit is working in us
to bear fruit that lasts.
We can’t really bear good fruit unless we’re willing to acknowledge the
things that stop us from doing so. This is where confession is such a
powerful practice. It helps us to face, and deal with, anything that blocks
us from the Spirit’s gentle guidance. Today, whenever you become
aware of things that keep you from bearing good fruit, confess them and
open yourself to God’s Spirit again.
Forgive me when I bear bad fruit, O God, and lead me to bear the fruit
of your Spirit.